Yesterday was the first day that same-sex couples could legally marry in the District of Columbia. In preparation, my colleague, Daryl Hannah, and I traveled to D.C. to work with couples who planned to marry in the District – and help them prepare for the deluge of media attention they were about to receive.
Adam Bass with Angelisa Young and Sinjoyla Townsend
On Tuesday, those couples exchanged vows in very moving ceremonies. It was an honor and a privilege to be present and hear them express the love they have for each other in front of their family, friends, and an anxious media corps.
Angelisa Young and Sinjoyla Townsend (Angel and Tina) were the first couple to get married yesterday, at the Equality Center.
I had the opportunity to be in the room with Angel and Tina just prior to their wedding ceremony. The excitement and love in the air was moving. What struck me is how similar the feeling was to when my own sister got married to her husband a few years ago. It was a strange mix of emotions: excitement, love, nervousness, anxiety, and happiness. At about 10 a.m., Angel and Tina walked down the aisle and exchanged vows.
Media gathered outside HRC's Equality Center
Following them, Rockie and Reggie, accompanied by their twin daughters (15-months-old) exchanged vows. Minutes later, Darlene and Candy, both leaders in the Metropolitain Church of Christ, were married. The couples were then greeted and congratulated by D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, along with several members of the City Council.
Later in the day, I joined Rick and Terrance – and their two sons – for their wedding at the Unitarian Universalist Church – the same location where Mayor Fenty had signed the D.C. marriage equality bill into law a few months earlier.
Mayor Adam Fenty shares a moment with Darlene Garner at the press conference
Yesterday was an amazing and moving experience that reminds me why we do the work we do at GLAAD. Moments before their wedding ceremony, I talked with Sinjoyla, specifically to thank her for sharing her wedding day with the world. We talked about what the media would look like Wednesday morning. Today, a young lesbian in the middle of the country will wake up and open the paper and have a new role model. Those role models might be Angelisa and Sinjoyla. That young lesbian will have someone to look up to. It was stressful for these couples to share such a private moment with the world, but it was incredibly important for the world – through the media – to see the love, commitment and respect they have for each other on their wedding day.
Rev. North presents Angelisa and Sinjoyla their signed marriage license
I’m thrilled, humbled and honored to have been part of such a special day for these couples and to be part of this historic moment in our country’s history.
Adam Bass is a Senior Media Field Strategist at GLAAD.